A staff of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc was violently attacked on Wednesday by one of the Customs clearing agents at the warehouse of the ground handling company at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos while carrying out his lawful duty.
The victim, who was identified as Tersuu Orhemba, was said to have been hit with a big stick on the skull by the assailant in the course of his duty.
A source close to the ground handling company confided in our correspondent on Monday that the victim was still lying critically ill at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Surgical Emergency Department after suffering internal bleeding in his brain.
The source alleged that after ab argument ensued at the warehouse between the two, the assailant, who was said to be working for “one of the big boys” in the industry, was furious and hit the NAHCO official airside of the airport.
The source said that the victim would require surgery to clear the blood stain in his brain as a result of the attack.
“The incident happened last Wednesday while the NAHCO staff was on duty," said the source.
"He was hit on the back by a yet unidentified person. He collapsed immediately after the incident and was rushed to the hospital. Medical report reveals that has internal bleeding and will require surgery to clear blood stains in the brain.
“He is lying critically ill in the hospital. NAHCO will require to conduct thorough investigation or search to apprehend the person that caused this pain to this young man and guarantee safety of other employees of the organisation. If this is not done, the other staff of this organisation are also at risk of been attacked the same way."
A second source in NAHCO confirmed the incident to our correspondent on phone.
The source insisted that the attacker works for one of the cargo agents and is known to all, but his boss is obstructing the arrest of the assailant.
According to the NAHCO source, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, NAHCO security officers had reported the case to the Police, who visited the scene to arrest the attacker, but they were prevented from carrying out the arrest by some cargo agents in support of the violence.
The NAHCO security agents were said to have followed up the case with a letter to the Divisonal Police Officer (DPO) at the Lagos Airport, who responded that the command had written to the company of the attacker to bring him for interrogation but the company declined.
The source said: “The Police came and wanted to effect arrest. Some cargo agents said they would not allow the Police to arrest any of them. The Police went away. NAHCO security department followed up with the DPO, who said that the Police had written to the company of the alleged attacker.
“Our Security Manager was forced to ask whether that would be the same position of the Police if the victim, who is still lying critically ill in the hospital awaiting surgery, dies. Would they be sitting down waiting for the company to produce the culprit who was known to the Police and for an act that took place in the presence of Customs officers and other NAHCO staff who were ready to testify even as the attack was captured on the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera?
“That is the update. The victim is lying critically ill in the hospital. The Police have been unable to arrest the individual responsible for the attack. NAHCO is escalating the case beyond the DPO and Airport Police Command.”
When our correspondent contacted the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Joseph Alabi, he declined to comment on the issue.